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Press ReleaseAnti-Semitism: USA
ADL Shocked by Discovery of Anti-Semitic Passages in President Truman's Diary

New York, NY, July 11, 2003 ... The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today was shocked to learn that President Harry S. Truman, long regarded as a friend of the Jewish people for his support for a Jewish homeland in the years after the Holocaust, had given voice to ugly anti-Semitism in his personal diary. Newly released diary excerpts, including stern references to the classical anti-Semitic canard of Jews caring only for themselves, "Reveal that, sadly, President Truman was indeed a man of his times, and that much less a man because of it."

Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, issued the following statement:
    The diary entries reveal that, sadly, President Truman was indeed a man of his times, and that much less a man because of it. While President Truman's personal thoughts about Jews are in some sense a reflection of those times, it is shocking to learn that this great American leader and statesman was afflicted with the same disease of anti-Semitism that was mirrored by larger society. Perhaps now one can better understand the mentality that existed in Washington which prohibited America to take action at a time when Jews were being singled out for persecution and extermination.

    Nothing in his statements, however, changes Truman's steadfast resolve to aid in the resettlement of Jews and other refugees in the aftermath of the war and the Holocaust. Regardless of his personal beliefs, President Truman will be remembered for his support and recognition of the homeland of the Jews, the State of Israel.

According to excerpts released by the National Archives, President Truman, writing in 1947 about a conversation with Henry Morgenthau Jr. about postwar immigration of Jews to Palestine, stated: "The Jews, I find, are very, very selfish. They care not how many Estonians, Latvians, Finns, Poles, Yugoslavs or Greeks get murdered or mistreated … "as long as the Jews get special treatment."

The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.

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Abraham H. Foxman on Harry Truman

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